Moving closer to a new vaccine

Professor Gordon Dougan, Fellow of Wolfson, is co-author of new paper that identifies a common genetic signature in Strep A.

Photo of Strep culture by U.S. Air Force Photo by Heide Couch)

The effort to develop a vaccine for group A streptococcal (Strep A) bacteria has progressed after researchers from the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity at the University of Melbourne, the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK and the University of Queensland sequenced over 2,000 Strep A genomes from all over the world. A paper published in Nature Genetics, Atlas of group A streptococcal vaccine candidates compiled using large-scale comparative genomics, of which Professor Dougan is a co-author, describes the effort.

The large-scale sequencing identified common gene signatures in almost all strains of Strep A globally, increasing the changes of identifying a target for a vaccine.

Professor Dougan says, Strep A "can cause a range of conditions, from sore throats and outbreaks of scarlet fever in the UK, to infections leading to rheumatic heart diseases in populations such as the Australian Aboriginal population."

"In addition to aiding research into a vaccine, genomic data from our study will help researchers understand how Strep A causes disease and why it is different in high-income areas to endemic regions."

Read more on the study from Science Daily/The University of Melbourne.